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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Squashing bugs

So the demo level is pretty much finished. I'm talking about this thing we're going to send out to the press and a select few testers. And yet, we still have a TON of work to do before we can put it in anyone's hands. There's tons of BIG, OBVIOUS bugs, like the player disappearing through the ground when a tree is growing under him.


Not to mention jumping through objects, sliding through objects, etc. Fun stuff! But a relatively easy fix. We've also got some other relatively easy problems we are working on, like the fact that the game encounters an error during seed growth causing massive framerate drop. 

Meanwhile, we're also working closely with ForteSounds this week to try to make sure that EVERY SINGLE action in the game gives some kind of audible feedback. This means adding three new fairy sounds, some new cloud sounds, some new casting sounds and more more more. I'm sorry to poor Forte but they promise me they're happy to do it. 

Long story short- we are almost there! The game is effectively working, hobbling along on one crutch like poor old Tiny Tim, but working nonetheless! And, if I can say something like this without sounding arrogant, it feels good. I have fun playing it and its very pretty!

So what's left is to fix these bugs and add a few enhancement features and then add the boss to the end of the level and voila! Press time. Hopefully. 

Also, in an effort to prepare ourselves for the kind of marketing we'll need to do in order to get noticed in this depressingly competitive niche, we're working on promo images and such. That means, first and foremost, FINALLY redoing our old logo to accommodate our now not-so-new-anymore name. I think the easiest route would be to just replace the old text and keep the image itself. That means it might end up looking something like this:

There's other art too. In the meantime, if there is ANY way you can help us spread the word, we would be MIGHTY appreciative! Thank you!!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Big changes in friends from the past

Wow what a week. It has been seriously non-stop work for all of us. But it's worth it. The progress we've been making lately has been really encouraging, as too have been the kind words from those who've taken the time to look at what we're doing.

We've mostly been working on squashing some bugs this week, and more than a few of those have been related to the fairy- so much so that I'm almost willing to redesign her as a bug. Maybe a butterfly?

But we've also been working on getting some old features back into our main demo level. Features that I'm sure some of you who have been with us since near the beginning will surely recognize. For starters, we've got clouds, rain, and the associated Skullhound death. For comparison sake, here's a look at the gif you might have seen a long time ago versus how it looks today:

You also might remember another old feature. The fairy friend serves a few important purposes in the game, and one of those is that she is able to carry inaccessible items closer to the player. A very, very long time ago, we posted a video of this mechanic. Let's take a look at that video!

Whew. We've come a long way. Here's how it looks today. 

Obviously there's still some stuff missing from both of these. The enemy needs some kind of "OH CRAP IM DYING" animation, while the fairy needs to have some kind of magical effect to explain why she can lift this GIGANTIC rock so effortlessly.

But those things are coming, and pretty soon. Stay with us. 

Also, today I died 9 times playing my own game. On a single obstacle. Is that too much? Is the obstacle too hard?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Caves and things

We continue to push forward. We've got three short levels just about playable. There's still quite a few bugs- player falling through ground, trees growing through player, player stuck behind trees, etc. But we are working on them. And man, Mihai works unbelievably fast. We've got an update on our cave assets, which you can see in the brief, very brief, gif below. The purpose of this gif is to show the new mouse cursor, which was suggested by St1kaAnnie H, and Luke Norman. They all suggested trying a leaf as the mouse cursor.

I think the below isn't perfect, but Murilo made us a whole bunch of variations of a mouse cursor to try. Check a few out. The first shows how the mouse cursor will be used to guide the fairy around, which is especially useful in dark caves!

Also this week, we changed the camera settings so that vertical motion of the camera is much much more restricted. This gives the game a much more stable appearance. We also added some (very preliminary) particles to the character that emit every time he double-jumps.

You can see both of those easily in the following gifs.

There are many more cursor options available. If you'd like to see some or have any suggestions, please let us know in the comments!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Making it come to life

The biggest problem so far, visually, is that the world has appeared too empty. In a way, that was intentional, as the fundamental story of the game is about the main character bringing the world back to its feet. In our 2D arrangement, the emptiness was a little bit more bearable, I think, with the lovely parallax effects adding a certain abstract heart to each scene. 

Unfortunately, it was harder to get a similar effect in Unity without increasing the visible distance to insane lengths, so the world ended up just looking a bit bland. It left us with only one course of action, to rethink how the world itself should "work", ie, what should fill its spaces? In the original design document, any organic material (wood, etc) had long been faded away into dust. Now though, we've gotten a little more liberal with the idea of a dead world.

Rocks, wood, houses, and even whatever is used on the blades of a windmill, all managed to survive the fictional apocalypse. 

The game hasn't changed though. The message still remains. Stuff's never hopeless.

Also, I've been working on a short video showing some diversity in the Sprout scenes. Take a look!

Don't forget to share and tweet and retweet and follow and watch and like and uh, you know, all that good stuff.

Also, please have a look at our IndieDB page. The more views we get there, the greater our chances for exposure!

Sprout's Tale

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Artist, New Art, New News

Computer's still pretty much broken. It's in the shop now to replace the power jack, but it should be back on my table in a couple of days. In the meantime, things have kind of slowed. I'm still trying to work, but pretty much all I can do is sketch levels down on paper.

Oh well, at least that's something.

Murilo put together a cute little diorama using his new assets, have a look:

You can see an interactive version of this little set here

 We've also added a new artist to our roster. Parker B is an extremely talented individual with professional experience in the industry, and, best of all, he's really excited to start working on Sprout's Tale. Check out his portfolio here!

Meanwhile, I've whiteboxed a new level for Parker to start working on. It's got caves and darkness and exploding enemies and fire enemies and lotsa scary stuff. For now though, it looks thoroughly un-scary.

We've also got some mysterious new bugs to work out (nothing new there, eh?), but it shouldn't be too much trouble.

Anyway. Til next time. Follow watch like love share etc. We love you. Stay with us.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Developing test levels

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, but we've found time for Sprout in the little corners of time between sleep and all our other responsibilities. Well, I've been working at putting together some later levels and testing them to make sure all our features work. We're very nearly at a place where we could make the entire game with the code we have finished. Whenever we run into problems, Miahi is always quick to work it out and fix it.

If we did have to end up making the whole game with what was there now, I think it would be missing a lot of its charm, but it would be playable and fun, at least. In any case, the demo's looking very good. It's fun.

Also, the video I promised last week is ready to go, but I need to rerecord the audio on it because I was getting some weird background noises when I did it initially.

Frankly, I'm too tired to do it now! Tomorrow, probably!

Thursday, May 8, 2014